China’s Development Brings Opportunity to the World

By: Qiu ShiFrom:English Edition of QiuShi Journal October-December 2018|Vol.10,No.4,Issue No.37 | Updated: 2018-Dec-21 17:37
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In 1978, China embarked on the grand journey of reform and opening up. Over the last 40 years, China has not only achieved its own rapid and healthy development, but also made important contributions to the noble cause of human peace and development. Nevertheless, there are some people abroad who harbor misgivings and concerns about China’s development. There are even those who seek to sow discord by spreading claims such as the “China threat” theory. For instance, America’s trade war against China was launched under the pretext that China’s development poses a threat to the US and the world as a whole. Meanwhile, a new wave of slanderous propagation of the “China threat” theory is attempting to capture the moral high ground and manipulate public opinion. But how should China’s impact on the world really be viewed? There is an old Chinese saying that facts speak louder than words. As long as one does not cling to certain prejudice, it is not hard to look at China’s development over the past four decades and see that what this brings to the world is not peril but great opportunity.

XINHUA / CHART BY BIAN JIHONG

I. China’s development has brought great opportunity to global development.

Forty years of reform and opening up have seen China rapidly develop and contribute to driving forward shared development across the globe. Over this period, China has adapted to contemporary trends and promoted shared global development amidst the process of reform and opening up, serving as a vivid example of a new model of international relations that features fairness, justice, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.

1. Acting as an engine and stabilizer for the global economy

China’s share of the global economy jumped from about 1.8% at the start of reform and opening up in 1978 to roughly 15% in 2017, making China the world’s second largest economy. Since the 2008 financial crisis, China has made continuous efforts to boost reform and opening up in the face of the global economy’s persistent slump and sluggish recovery. This has rapidly stimulated the vitality of China’s market, constantly unleashed the potential of its domestic demand, and allowed new growth drivers to gradually build their strength. Meanwhile, China’s key macroeconomic indicators have remained stable, its economy has stayed resilient with ample potential and room for growth, and its economic growth has become more sustainable. Finally, China’s contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30% for several consecutive years, and thus China has become the chief engine and stabilizer of world economic growth.

2. Bringing extensive benefits to countries in the world

China has sped up its development through reform and opening up, and the people of countries throughout the world have benefitted as a result. As the world’s largest exporter, China has provided the global market with vast quantities of inexpensive and high quality goods, satisfying the needs of people of every nationality. China has also spurred consumption and employment in other countries by consistently increasing its exports and maintaining its standing as the world’s largest source of outbound tourists. The First China International Import Expo held in 2018 has helped other countries expand their presence in the Chinese market. As the developing country attracting the largest amount of foreign investment in the world, China has constantly provided foreign-funded enterprises with economic incentives and promoted their growth in China. A good number of Chinese enterprises have gone global, becoming drivers of technological progress and economic development in countries where they operate. It has been estimated that over the next 15 years, China will import US$24 trillion worth of goods, attract $2 trillion of foreign direct investment, and invest $2 trillion overseas, while Chinese tourists will make more than 2 billion visits to other countries. By constantly furthering reform and opening up more broadly, China will undoubtedly bring greater opportunity to the countries of the world.

3. Driving peaceful global development

China is committed to the path of peaceful development, and its developmental vision has offered completely new wisdom and solutions for promoting world peace and development. The concept of building a community of shared future for humanity introduced by Xi Jinping has already been written into major UN documents. By consciously putting this concept into practice, China has actively developed global partnerships, pushed forward major country cooperation and common security, and contributed to major country relations with overall stability and balanced development. China has also deepened relations with its neighbors in accordance with the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and its commitment to building friendships and partnerships with neighboring countries. Lastly, guided by a correct sense of doing greater good and pursuing shared interests and the principles of sincerity, pragmatism, affinity, and good faith, China has worked to bolster solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries.

4. Promoting the development of countries along the Belt and Road and elsewhere around the world

The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China has linked China’s development with that of countries both along the initiative’s corridor and in other parts of the world, and combined the dreams of these nations with the Chinese Dream. It has shown tremendous vigor and vitality by making mutual consultation, joint development, and benefit sharing its fundamental principles, making enhancement of the “five connections” (coordination of policies, linking of transport infrastructure, opening of trade routes, free flow of funds, fostering of friendship) its key support, and making the establishment of a new pattern of complete openness its objective. Though the Belt and Road Initiative was introduced by China, it belongs to the whole world. So far, over 140 countries and regions and more than 80 international organizations have participated in the initiative or offered their support. Between 2013 and 2017, the total value of merchandise trade between China and other countries and regions along the Belt and Road surpassed US$5 trillion, while China’s outward direct investment to these countries exceeded $70 billion, and Chinese enterprises contributed to these countries by paying $2.2 billion in taxes and creating 210,000 jobs.

5. Serving as a useful example for the world

The experience of China’s success in development has captured the attention of the international community. Throughout the process of reform and opening up, China has persisted in freeing minds and seeking truth from facts, promoting positive interaction between theory and practice, and driving forward shared development. Meanwhile, it has continued spurring reform and development through opening up, and ensured that opening up and reform are mutually reinforcing. China has also put emphasis on striking the right balance in the government-market relationship, and consistently raised the efficiency of resource allocation. Finally, China has made sure that reform and opening up is endorsed and supported by the people by properly handling the relationship between reform, development, and social stability. These major development concepts, methods, and measures are mostly oriented toward the resolution of general problems faced by developing countries in the process of development, and can therefore serve as a positive and pragmatic source of reference for many of these countries.

II. China’s development has cast aside the outmoded idea that hegemony is the only path to national strength.

Though China has constantly grown stronger through peaceful development, it will always remain a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of international order.

1. China builds world peace rather than threatening it.

In the past, some Western countries maliciously sought to impose the idea upon China that it had to dominate others to be strong, but China refused to accept this antiquated logic. Instead, China maintained the firm belief that following the beaten track of hegemonism and colonialism would have catastrophic consequences. No matter how far China goes in its development, it will never pose a threat to others, never seek hegemony, and never get caught up in expansionism. A peaceful and cooperative international environment fits the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, and is conducive to promoting common wellbeing for the people of the world.

2. China contributes to global development rather than taking advantage of it.

Realizing shared global development is the common aspiration of the people of all nations that fits with the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation. Since ancient times, the Chinese nation has actively built contacts and trade relationships with other countries rather than aggressively encroaching upon them, and upheld its commitment to patriotic defense of the motherland rather than colonialist expansion of its borders. The Chinese people are profoundly aware that they must not follow in the footsteps of certain Western developed countries and base their development on violating the interests or pillaging the resources of other countries. Instead, they are sincere in their desire to safeguard world peace and build their development on the basis of equitable cooperation and mutual benefit. China has always acted as a promoter of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in every form, including that on the global level, such as South-South cooperation, North-South cooperation, and BRICS cooperation, as well as that on the regional level, such as economic cooperation in the Greater Mekong Subregion and Northeast Asia. Over 40 years of reform and opening up, China was responsible for over 70% of global poverty reduction; over the last decade, it cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 4.1 billion tons while maintaining economic growth; and over the last five years, its average annual contribution to the growth of global final consumption exceeded 20%. Throughout its own process of development, China has consistently created opportunities for global development and helped developing countries raise their ability to develop themselves.

3. China defends international order rather than destroying it.

The rules-based international order serves the common interests of people in every country throughout the world. As they abide by international rules, all countries should simultaneously participate in improving and innovating the global governance system to make this system reflect the wishes and interests of the majority of countries in a more balanced manner. However, this does not mean that we should scrap the old system and start again from scratch. There are certain Western countries that dominate the international order with only their own interests in mind. As soon as they think that the international order is detrimental to their interests, they lean toward ideas like exceptionalism and putting themselves first, while brazenly violating principles of international cooperation and damaging the cooperative international order by engaging in isolationism, unilateralism, and protectionism. China, in contrast, has remained a committed participant, architect, and contributor in the current international system, and has actively pushed the global governance system to become more just, rational, and effective. Since reform and opening up, China has enthusiastically joined major international organizations, taken the initiative to host major international conferences, and conscientiously fulfilled its international obligations. It has observed WTO rules, taken concrete steps to oppose trade protectionism, supported the principles of free trade, and stood behind the development of an open, transparent, inclusive, and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system by cutting import tariffs substantially and delivering on its promise to open up trade in goods and services. China has also played an active, constructive, and prominent role at the UN Climate Change Conference and a guiding role in international cooperation efforts like the BRICS.

III. China’s development has undertaken the responsibility of making greater contributions to the world.

The decision to open up is one that every country ought to make, because only opening up can bring the mutual benefit, common prosperity, and lasting development in the world. As China continues moving forward with reform and opening up at an incredible pace, it will bring more opportunities to the world and always welcome other countries to come along on its journey of development. The international community should make joint efforts to safeguard the multilateral trading system, unequivocally oppose isolationism, unilateralism, and protectionism, and vigorously promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment in order to keep economic globalization on the right track and develop an open global economy.

Collaboration and communication between countries should be strengthened, while differences should be effectively managed.

Facing a myriad of problems and challenges in global development, all countries should take real action to strengthen collaboration and communication, effectively manage their differences, and jointly uphold a rules-based international order oriented toward equity and mutual benefit. They should also further reinforce people to people communication between countries and deepen intercultural exchanges that promote tolerance and harmony amid diversity. Moreover, in the process of cooperation, they should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, approaches to development, social systems, core interests, and major concerns. Lastly, when disagreements cause friction in international cooperation, they should use equal and constructive consultation and dialogue to manage differences and resolve disputes.

Pragmatic cooperation between countries should be deepened to bring about mutual benefit.

On the basis of respect for the multilateral trading system, all countries should uphold the principle of bidirectional opening up and help build an amiable, fair, and just environment and institutional framework. They should continue looking for areas where their interests converge, and use the enhancement of infrastructure connectivity as a basis for building closer economic and trade relations, and further deepening all types of cooperation, including that related to political and security affairs and cultural exchanges. Finally, they should build new momentum for driving international cooperation by constantly bolstering the guiding role of innovation and deepening international collaboration and exchange in this respect.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 16, 2018)